Stem Cell Research and Therapy
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Background: Ectopic expression of a defined set of transcription factors allows the reprogramming of mammalian somatic cells to pluripotency. Despite continuous progress in primate and rodent reprogramming, limited attention has been paid to cell reprogramming in domestic and companion species. Previous studies attempting to reprogram canine cells have mostly assessed a small number of presumptive canine induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines for generic pluripotency attributes. However, why canine cell reprogramming remains extremely inefficient is poorly understood. Methods: To better characterize the initial steps of pluripotency induction in canine somatic cells, we optimized an experimental system where canine fetal fibroblasts (cFFs) are transduced with the Yamanaka reprogramming factors by Sendai virus vectors. We use quantitative PCR arrays to measure the expression of 80 target genes at various stages of canine cell reprogramming. We ask how cFF reprogramming is influenced by small molecules affecting the epigenomic modification 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, specifically L-ascorbic acid and retinoic acid (AA/RA). Results: We found that the expression and catalytic output of a class of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent (2-OG) hydroxylases, known as ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes, can be modulated in canine cells treated with AA/RA. We further show that AA/RA treatment induces TET1 expression and facilitates early canine reprogramming, evidenced by upregulation of epithelial and pluripotency markers. Using a chemical inhibitor of 2-OG hydroxylases, we demonstrate that 2-OG hydroxylase activity regulates the expression of a subset of genes involved in mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) and pluripotency in early canine reprogramming. We identify a set of transcription factors depleted in maturing reprogramming intermediates compared to pluripotent canine embryonic stem cells. Conclusions: Our findings highlight 2-OG hydroxylases have evolutionarily conserved and divergent functions regulating the early reprogramming of canine somatic cells and show reprogramming conditions can be rationally optimized for the generation of maturing canine iPSC.